Live each day like it's your last. I remember those words, spoken to me when I was much younger, by an older and wiser friend. He better understood their meaning then, but he was able to teach me at least part of the lesson behind them. The clarity of his wisdom at first captivated me, and later made us friends. And during each trip to California, and visit to his company, then called Hewlett-Packard Co., the anticipation of time spent with him made the drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and north to Santa Rosa seem to fly by.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of this magazine (called simply MicroWaves in its formative years), and the 30th year for this writer as a part of this magazine and this industry. As the years pass by, there is a tendency to recall key points along the road, as well as the people who played some part in the journey.
A reminder of one of those special people came recently in an update e-mail from networking site, LinkedIn. In reviewing the messages, an accidental mouse click brought up various connections, including a profile for Lisa Hebert, who passed away this June. Lisa also worked at Hewlett-Packard Co. in Santa Rosa, although it is now called Agilent Technologies. Like the aforementioned friend, she was special, exuding a grace and love of life that overwhelmed anyone she met. She was simply impossible to dislike. Those of a spiritual bent may refer to her "positive energy," but it was simply her openness, her compassion, her sense of humor, and her joy for each day that made everyone want to be around her. In addition to balancing a career and being a mother of two small children, she was an effective campaigner for her company and its computer-aided-engineering (CAE) software tools. She worked tirelessly with editors to make sure they understood the significance of each new software release and the best ways to cover them in our respective magazines.
Seeing Lisa's picture with her LinkedIn profile was haunting, knowing that she was gone, that I had lost a friend, and the industry had lost one of its shining stars. But the picture did remind me of her life and the way that she lived it, adoring nature and the great outdoors almost as much as she loved her husband, children, family, and friends. Lisa enjoyed her work as well, and excelled at it, much to Agilent's benefit. She was always honest and sincere and treated everyone, from top to bottom, like they were her newest best friend. In an industry still dominated by men, it is not easy for a woman to make a difference, but Lisa did so. And she did it by following that same advice given to me so many years ago: To live each day like it's your last.